Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Making Music . . .

Yesterday - last full day of vacation, and I got to celebrate my birthday a little longer!

My cousin, ME, and I headed over to the club to work out and then have mini tune up massages. They are great! Then, I spent a little time in the whirlpool in the locker room, and made sure my shoulder and arm got a really good massage from the jets. This is not so easy to do, I discovered. You have to really wiggle around to avoid getting blown off the seat ledge and still get your arm and shoulder low enough to reach the jets. Thankfully I was the only person in there :-D

Lunch at Carlo's with Peppermint ice cream for dessert. I'm not a big ice cream person - I really only like peppermint, so that was a great treat. And then . . . a little shopping excursion.

Many years ago I played the guitar. It was like an extra appendage - I was pretty much never without it. But, as sometimes happens, about 20 years ago, I had stopped playing for any number of reasons, and an instrument is meant to be played. Since I wasn't playing it, and I was pretty broke at the time, I sold it. It was a very hard decision, but a guy from Swallow Hill in Denver bought it for his students.

For the past few years, I have been thinking about getting a new guitar. It was a gentle but persistent thought that would come and then go, but always come back. After my cousin, Jimmy, passed away, his brother John let me foster his Martin for a bit. I didn't have it very long, but long enough to get the feel of the strings again and know that if I was going to play again that I would have to toughen up my fingers. The only way to do that is to be pressing on guitar strings. And the best way to do that, is to have them attached to a guitar.

So, after lunch, ME and I drove over to Country Club Hills to the Guitar Gallery store that is there, and I sat down to try a few out with the plan to not be hasty, but to wait for my tax return (and let me tell you they are taking their sweet time now that they owe me money). I tried a Yamaha (what I had years ago). Nope. Tried an Epiphone. Pretty nice. Tried something called a 3 series Parkwood. Very nice. Tried a couple of lower priced Martins. To my great surprise, not so good (wow!). Tried another Martin that cost twice as much - and the action was so high that it was twice as hard to play. No way. Tried a Taylor. Not great. Then the guy had me try another Parkwood - this time a 5 series.

Have you ever had an experience where something just fit you? Like it was made for you and had just been waiting for you to show up? I had it with my Lendrum spinning wheel - just sat down and it fit. Well, I sat down to play this PW510, and everything came together to make some musical magic for me. Even after decades of not playing I was able to play this neck. The action was really low and easy. The tone quality was rich yet bright. It fit my body and it sang in my hands. Wow . . . So I played the three I liked the best again, comparing them. The Epiphone's tone was deep but muddy. It was down to the two Parkwoods (Korean guitars that I never even heard of before!). The 3 series was nice, but played against the 5, there was no contest at all.

I got up to talk to the guy about holding it, and after some discussion with ME, I decided to whip out the plastic and deal with it later when my tax return comes. A few accessories, a hard shell case instead of a gig bag, and it was Happy Birthday to me. Music forever to come. Another step on the path back to myself.

Oh yeah . . .


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

So glad to hear you did this for yourself! My husband bought himself a Martin a few years ago and fulfilled a lifetime dream. He has an inexpensive classical guitar, too, that he's had since school; I love to hear him play flaminco on that.

Yarnsnob said...

Cool. You'll have to show me how to play sometime, I've been thinking about taking lessons at Old Town.

candy t said...

Good for you and Happy Birthday!!

Linda said...

Holy crow! I get overcome with work and fall behind on my blog feeds and keeping up with folks, and WHAM! You just go out and do something totally brazen and crazy. That's one of the things I love about you!